Monday, December 15, 2014

Lessons from the swing set

This past Thursday, Katie and I had the chance to build a swing set for a family that I had worked for this summer.  To only call it a swing set would be an understatement, we spent about 10 hours putting the play fortress together.  We even had to break out the work lights so we could get it finished.  At the end of the day, it was awesome seeing the huge smiles on the kids' faces as they played on the new swing set. We had a great time working together and learned a lot in the process.

After Katie and I were accepted as long term missionaries, we entered a phase of ministry partnership development (MPD). This involves contacting and sharing with churches, friends, family, and anyone who will listen, about our ministry and calling as well as how they can partner with us.  I think we both expected that as we started doing MPD everything would just fall into place and we would be a well oiled machine.  However, we soon discovered that this is not quite the case, it has been challenging learning how to work together in this.  We both had some expectations of how it would go and who would do what.  By God's grace, we were making some progress, but it all seemed rather disjointed. This brings me back to the swing set.

Sometimes ya need a little success! Driving home Thursday night, there was some new life in the car.  We were both worn out, but there was a feeling of accomplishment, of look what we can do when we work together.  As we talked about what made it so easy for us to work together, this is what we came up with:

Manuals are awesome!  Without the manual for putting the swing set together, we would've been lost and unsure of where to start and how each piece fit together.  I think this has been one of the harder things about MPD, there really isn't a set manual, step-by-step instructions for going about this.  Even though Katie has been doing it for years, we still had to figure out how the Mannings were going to do it. 

We had clarity on our roles and we're confident in those roles.  I had studied the manual before we even began.  So I knew how we would go about the day and what would be most helpful for getting the job done.  I was confident in screwing all the pieces together and Katie was confident in being one step ahead, pulling the pieces and hardware out for the next phase so once I was finished, I could move right into the next phase.  In MPD, we're still trying to figure out what there is to do, much less who can do what, which leads to some unmet expectations and feelings of paralysis.  We want to work together well so we need to continue to extend grace to each other especially since we've only been married 10 months and both full-time missionaries for 3 months.

We also learned that it is FUN to work together, something we had started to question.  It was great getting to see each other in their areas of giftedness and encourage each other with the different tasks we were doing.  It's fun to labor together with your spouse in the work that God has for us.  

I'd love to tell you that now things are going awesome and we're making tremendous progress on our ministry partnership development, but the reality is the whole thing is a journey.  Each day we continue on and God is using this journey to refine us.  When you think about it, the same is true for each one of us, even though sometimes we don't see it, or we want to fight it.  Praise the Lord that He is sovereign and has the perfect plan.  Katie and I thank God for the refreshment He gave us in the form of a disassembled swing set and for all He taught us through it.

Psalm 66:10-12 "For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs.  You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance."

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Insider look at the typical travel habits for the Mannings

This is a map of our next road trip starting Thursday Oct 30th.  Please pray for us as we travel.There is a detailed list of our travels on the "Where in the World are the Mannings?" tab

In case you were wondering what happens when the Mannings travel, here's a list of what usually unfolds:

1) Mark usually always drives...and I'm A-Okay with that!

2) I struggle with falling asleep for two reasons: One reason is, I feel bad if I sleep because I know he won't get to.  The other reason is because if I fall asleep, this usually happens...

I know, isn't this attractive?
3) We pack food and only stop for gas and emergency bathroom breaks. (I'm getting better at making pb&j on my lap.)

4) We pray together for at least part of the road trip (so feel free to send us prayer requests).

5) If we're flying, I am normally the anxious one up until I get to the gate. Mark stays cool, calm, and collected.

6) Neither of us can read as we tend to get motion sickness (so if you have leftover audio books, feel free to send them our way).

7) Mark always honks the horn when we enter a new state. (yes we're that car!)

8) If flying, Mark always talks to whoever is beside us.

9) When driving up north, I test the outside temperature by putting my hand on the window.  If I jerk it back right away, it means I'm gonna freeze!

10) We pray at the start of our trip for safety and we praise God at the end when we've arrived. (a Momma Hooks tradition)
Thank you to the Wigleys for letting us borrow their 12-pass van while in MD!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Prepare my heart Lord

"Wherever you are, be all there." Jim Elliot

This quote periodically presents itself in my mind and usually it's in BIG bright letters so I can't miss it.  As Mark and I begin to make decisions about traveling for the next several months, I'm reminded of this simple short phrase.  It helps take away the sad feelings about leaving our house, neighborhood, city, friends, etc.  It reminds me that while I'm in New Orleans, I need to treasure the time I have here (and not mope about the time we'll be gone). 

It reminds me that wherever Mark and I go this fall, that I GET to be in those places because God has made it possible.  So I want to value the time I spend traveling and keep my eyes open for where God is at work and praise Him for it.  I do look forward to seeing friends and family and sharing about the vision God has given Mark and I for ministry.  I'm excited to see how God will shape our hearts and the hearts of those we get to visit.

So I wrote up a list (with photos) of how thankful I am to have spent this last month in Louisiana:
Spending quality time with my ReachGlobal Crisis Response staff (this was taken at our annual ministry planning meetings)
Getting to visit this local Louisiana museum.  We've also got to bike around the city several times (city park is a fav destination)
My friend Haley and I helping out our friend Kim at her school's body walk for the elementary kids.  I got to share about the heart; she was the lungs!

Getting to celebrate birthdays.  This is my friend Cortney who leads our womens' accountability group. Love her

Getting to have a PRD (personal retreat day) at starbucks!

Going on date nights with my hubby!  (Yes we are creative.)

Mark and I babysitting baby Benjamin!! He's adorable!

Getting to spend time on the N. shore!  Mark was kind enough to let me make a video for our newsletter.  (here's the link)
Mark made me a heart pancake to celebrate our EIGHT monthiverisary!  Isn't he the sweetest!

I am thankful to God for the time He has allowed us to be here in Louisiana.  It's been encouraging to see friends often and attend our church Castle Rock on a regular basis.  We'll have one more week here before our travels kick off (look out North Carolina, you first!).  I am praying for God to grow our dependence on Him and that He will provide in ways that only He can.  I am praying for God to prepare my heart for whatever He has in store.

"I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:10-13

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." Matthew 13:44 (bold added)

My heart is steadfast, O God,
    my heart is steadfast!
I will sing and make melody! 

Psalm 57:7 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Beauty of Multiplication

Mallory representing Crisis Response wearing her blue staff shirt!
Mallory, my summer intern, was asked to represent Crisis Response at her college fair day.  Mallory is a senior at Greenville College.  Usually I visit colleges to represent our ministry but thankfully, Mallory said yes, multiplying me from having to go.  I asked Mallory how she felt before, during, and after the day.  This is what she said:
Well before hand, I was a little nervous because I felt that we were throwing everything together last minute but that turned out great. During the afternoon talking to people I was excited, it was almost like re-living the work I did this past summer and reminded me how I have grown through just one summer (2 1/2 months) and how God really showed himself to me through crisis response. I loved explaining what the volunteers do and what the interns do as well. After everything was finished I felt accomplished. Accomplished not because there were a lot of people signed up, but because I felt that it was God's way of telling me to share what I've learned.
I'm so thankful Mallory took this chance to share with others about her summer because it reminded her that there were lessons God taught her.  Having to retell her story over and over only reinforced those lessons more.  It reminded me of the beauty of stepping back and letting others step up.  I'm not the only person God can use and that's a good thing.  Mallory had a chance to reflect through this opportunity and encourage others to step out in faith to see how God can use them on the mission field.
Professor Watterson and Jordan (former volunteers) joined Mallory in the recruiting efforts
Usually, I spend my fall months traveling to different colleges and promoting Crisis Response internships.  However, this fall is going to look different as Mark and I travel not just to colleges, but to visit friends and churches to pursue ministry partners for our long term work with ReachGlobal.  Not sure how I was going to get the word out about internships, God had it all worked out.  Praise be to God who knows our needs! 

If you would like more info on how you can be involved, feel free to contact me!  The beauty of multiplication is that it's the BODY of Christ at work, each in their own way, using the gifts and skills God has given them, and sharing from their hearts what the Lord has done! and that's beautiful :)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Debrief: a series of questions about a completed mission or undertaking

This week I have the opportunity to type up the notes from my debriefing appointments with Emily, Mallory, and Jamie.  Each debriefing took a good chunk of time but in all honesty, it should have.  These young ladies didn't just give up one week of their lives to serve with ReachGlobal Crisis Response; they gave up two to 2.5 months (not to mention the time they put into the application process and support raising prior to arrival). I can only imagine how long their debriefing would've been if they had stayed for longer! 

Each debriefing is geared to allow time to reflect on the internship.  We ask questions like what did God teach you, what would you want us to change, what should we continue to do, etc.  Then we take time to prepare them for their transition to the next phase of their lives.  We talk about what a Biblical re-entry looks like and the potential roadblocks that will arise when they return home.  We want to prepare them as best we can so they take a defensive stance and are ready for whatever could be thrown at them.

I would hope and pray that the interns return home excited and willing to share everything about their time with us.  If you are near someone who just returned home from a mission experience, please take the time to ask them about their experience.  They want to share and they want someone to listen!  I would also hope they would share how they grew in their walk with the Lord and where they saw God at work this summer. 

I pray the interns return home and experience:
-seeking God's will for their life with new intensity
-excited about finding new ways (or recommitting themselves) to reach out and/or use newly discovered abilities
-assessing their gifts and passions
-excited about new spiritual disciplines - prayer, Bible reading, fasting, new worship styles...

Lord, please be with the interns who just returned home from serving you in ministry this summer.  Lord please continue to fan into flame their love for you and their love for others.  Give them a hunger and thirst for you and your Word.  Keep them safe from the enemy who wants to pull them back into their old routines that didn't glorify you and who wants to take the lessons you taught them this summer.  Keep their eyes fixed on You Lord and how they can be the light to those around them.  Please provide Godly friendships and a local body of believers for them to learn, serve and grow with.  I know I can't be there in person but Lord you are with them always!  You have their backs!  As much as I want to be with them in this next phase of their life journeys, I cannot, but I can always trust You with them.  Lord, give them wisdom about decisions they need to make, give them peace about whatever uncertainties lie ahead, give them your comfort during hard times, and give them a desire to set the example for the next generation of Christ followers.  In Jesus's name I pray, AMEN!    

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Best Thing For Me

Well that's it. Last week ended and it's now a new week.   Jamie and Mallory are off to school and Emily leaves tomorrow for Staten Island. How is it that the summers go faster every year? 

I praise God for how He has moved in the lives of these young ladies. Through them, I was reminded that if you're willing to step out in faith, God can do things, move things, reveal things, and give you things you were never expecting.  I have to stop looking at circumstances with my two little eyes and start trusting God that He knows what He's doing even when I don't know what the outcome will be.  

I was reminded of DIVINE ENERGY! Too often I rely too much on myself (wow if that's not the understatement of the century).  The girls and I had to persevere through some hard, long, tiring days and we knew it was only because of energy supplied from God that we made it through.  I don't want to rely on myself but there's definitely the battle to try.  

I like how these two reminders are connected.  Stepping out in faith means you are doing something that isn't completely visible to you. So you have no idea what to expect and in order to stay faithful til the end, you need His divine energy.  Praise God that He wants to supply us with energy!  Praise God that He gives us opportunities to step out in faith.  He doesn't reveal the whole plan, but He does want to lead us and guide us.

I prayed at the beginning of this summer that God "reminds me every day that the most important thing I can do as a leader today is to keep seeking God in depths of my own soul - no matter what it costs."  Granted I can't say it happened everyday but most days I knew the best thing for me and the girls was for me to keep seeking the Lord. He met me in ways I didn't expect that spoke straight to my soul and for that I thank God for this summer. Thank you Jamie, Mallory, and Emily for pushing me closer to Christ! Love y'all and praying y'all rely on His divine energy as you step out in faith! 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

One More Week

This week is the "One More Week" week.

It's one more week of volunteer teams in New Orleans for the summer.  I praise God for the volunteers that have come to serve here this summer.  It's been 9 years since Katrina so I know it's because of God's provision and answer to prayers that we still have teams coming.  I'm excited to serve alongside Grace Community Church who I've known since 2008! 

On the flipside, please pray for the homeowners whose homes will still sit unfinished because this is indeed, the last week of teams for a while.  Please pray God's peace over them and they continue to trust God with His perfect timing.  I ask you to join us in praying for more workers for this harvest field and consider coming down to help!

It's one more week for all three interns to be all together in one place.  Jamie and Mallory leave this weekend.  Emily will leave next Wednesday for Staten Island to finish out her internship.  I praise God for bringing these ladies here this summer.  My heart is happy to see how much God has grown them and how they have strived to serve each other and love each other as Christ does.  God is doing an amazing work in their lives.  I can't wait to watch their interviews again just to remind myself of why it is I do what I do.  I got to hear phrases like: "I grew in my relationship with Christ," "the staff became like family," and "ministering to others actually ministered to me."  

Please pray for the interns as they finish out their internship and pray for them as they transition to what God has in store for them next.

It's also one more week until I see my BFF Allie B!! I can't wait to see her!

And last but not least, it's one more week until Mark and I celebrate our SIX MONTHIVERSARY!!! I praise God for six months of marriage!  I'm so thankful to have such an amazing husband who loves the Lord and loves me too.

Praising God for this "one more week."  I hope you enjoy this week too!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Marrying a Manning Means...

I was thinking the other day about how marriage has changed my life.  I was your typical single gal who led by the LORD went throughout her day doing whatever was on her list of things for that day.  Have coffee with this person, go for a run, send out that email, return those phone calls, schedule that meeting, travel to this state this week, another country another week, and so on.  I didn't have to think about another person and his schedule.

I think one of the biggest things that has changed for me is that when Mark gets home from work at the end of the day, I stop working.  If you don't know, I have the luxury of working from home when I'm not traveling and when I was single, I could keep working through my take-out dinner and into the wee hours of the night (okay or 10pm because I'm old and can't stay up late anymore).  And when interns are around, I can hang out with them all day and all night!

Mark for me has been my physical presence of putting aside my work and focusing on something else, my husband!  I'm not at all upset about this just so you know.  I LOVE when Mark gets home! Yes we are still in the newlywed stage, celebrating 5 months today of married bliss.

For me, marrying a Manning means I now have better boundaries.  Whatever doesn't get done before he gets home can wait until tomorrow.  It's really okay to stop.  I'm not saying that working long hours is wrong, but for me, I could see how if I'm not careful with putting aside work, I could neglect my husband which would NOT be good.  I'm even seeing that now with having interns here.  I'm asking God for wisdom on how to have a healthy balance between spending time with interns and spending time with my husband.

Marrying Mark has shown me that my life doesn't revolve around my work anyway.  My life should and always revolve around Christ.  The verse in Colossians says: "When Christ, who is your life appears..." So yes, Christ is my life and He has given me Mark to remind me that work is not what defines me, Christ is EVERYTHING and I need to keep Christ at the center of my life, my work, and my marriage!

So if you're reading this and your single, thinking that someday when you're married you'll put boundaries on work, just be careful. Creating the habit now to put work aside, focus on the people around you, and find your identity in your relationship with Christ will help you 1000000x to keep Christ the priority and prepare you for marriage.

"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." Colossians 3:1-4

Saturday, June 21, 2014

I don't want to be the same when I leave...

Jamie, Emily, and Mallory working at Ms. Dorothy's
One of the many blessings of my role with the ministry is getting to walk alongside and mentor the interns who give up their time, move to Louisiana, and serve with us!

This summer I have the privilege of being surrounded by three young women who are seeking the LORD and desiring to serve Him.  Their names are Emily, Mallory, and Jamie. 

When I asked them the question "Where do you see yourself at the end of the summer?" The general consensus was: "I don't want to be the same when I leave..."  What did they mean by that?  They want to strengthen their personal walk with the LORD, they want to be stretched out of their comfort zone, they want to experience God in new ways, and they want to show the love of Christ to those in need.  They want to be forever changed by this summer experience that when they go back home, people see a noticeable difference.

Please join me in praying for them.  We have taken time to get to know each other, explore our strengths and wiring so we understand each other better, and served as a team on Ms. Dorothy's home.   We were able to move Ms. Dorothy into her bedroom after sleeping on a couch for a year and a half.  Praise the LORD.  They have been able to meet two of the local church planters and hear how God called them into ministry.

Me, Mallory, Jamie, and Emily experiencing a Louisiana swamp tour
Another God praise: The girls have found a weekly church sand volleyball league where they have made friends with other young adults.  This week we have volunteers so they will be immersed in meeting volunteers and seeing how the ministry focuses on transforming volunteers while they serve.  God is doing great things and we have to give Him all the glory, honor, and praise for what He will do this summer!

Our memory verse:

"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners..." Isaiah 61:1

Monday, May 26, 2014


First off, I want to thank all the men and women of the US Military who have served or are serving and have sacrificed so much, even their lives, for the freedoms we enjoy in this country.  Thank you for your dedication and sacrifice!  

I was reading a lecture today where the author wrote how he had been offered a less paying job but it would be writing for the political party he was so passionate about.  He took the job; however, with getting paid less, he realized he couldn't support his cigarette addiction anymore and gave up smoking.  He wrote, "that sort of sacrifice which the party demanded of me was perfectly normal, and it seemed perfectly normal of me to accept it."

It got me thinking about the sacrifices I've made to be where I am today.  Granted I didn't have to give up a cigarette addiction but I had sacrifices.  I don't live close to my family.  I live in a cultural that I'm not used to.  I travel quite a bit (or used to before marriage).  I have a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry and would be getting paid more if I used that degree.  However, I have peace about where God has me today!

The sort of sacrifices which God demands of me is perfectly normal and I can honestly say, it seemed perfectly normal of me to accept it.  God gave us His Son Jesus!  Jesus sacrificed his place in heaven to come to earth, to be born in a manger, to show and share His love to a crowd that would eventually betray Him, and then ultimately, He sacrificed His life so that we could be set free from sins and restored into a right relationship with God.  After that kind of sacrifice, I think it's only normal for me to sacrifice my plans for my life and surrender my life, walking in obedience to the plans God has for me.  I hope you see it as normal as I do.

"Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:19-25

"God's grace operates in the same fashion today--not just for salvation but for all of life. He offers the inconceivable to the unworthy and withholds the expected from the deserving.  Faith is not a system of proving our worthiness to Him, but the unadorned reception of what He offers focusing not on the strength of the receiver, but on the character of the giver." Stokes, Grace Under Pressure, p.14

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Keeping My Eyes Open!

One thing I have been reflecting on since our trip up north is that when we were there, we saw God at work everywhere, even in the tiny details!  We saw Him in the people we met, the conversations we had, the places He put us, God was in it all!  We saw people's eyes opened to the Gospel and we had a willingness to step out of our comfort zones to talk to people we had never met.

So coming back home to New Orleans, I was wondering, is God at work here?  I know He is at work but it's harder to see here on my home turf.  Maybe it's because I'm back to my normal routine, working, seeing friends, going to church, getting groceries, and I'm not looking for Him to be in those places.  But again, I know He's here. He's everywhere and He's intentional with His plans so I know He's working around me to see those plans come to fruition. 

Maybe you know what I'm talking about.  When we go on a mission trip, we're expecting God to be there, to use us, to work in amazing ways and yet, we don't have that same expectation of the same God when we're at home in our day to day lives.  I'm definitely feeling convicted about this and that I should have these expectations everywhere I am and especially here in my city. 

I have been challenged to look for God right where I am.  And sure enough, God provided a framing job for Mark the week we got back from our trip.  And even though his car is broke down, God has provided the vehicles he's needed for the job and for us to get around.  We're continuing to build relationships with our neighbors even though they don't sit out on their front porches like most of New Orleans neighbors.  I'm thankful every time I catch a neighbor outside (oh yes I'm serious).  But I know God is doing more and even though I can't see it, I have to trust that He is at work.  I need to expect God to work and keep my eyes open to seeing Him at work.  I know I can't see everything He's up to with my two little eyes but I have to keep looking.

Seeing God at work, catching Him in the tiny details, turns into adoration and praise to God.  It reminds me that my day to day life is not about me but all about HIM!  It reminds me that God is bigger than me and He has a plan!

"and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us." 
Acts 17:26b-27

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
"As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:8-9

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Story To Tell

So much happened over our first mission/vision trip that I don't know where to start.  We were blessed with safe travels, places to sleep, food to eat, car to drive, and work to join.  More importantly, God allowed us to hear stories of how He has transformed lives.  Here are a few examples of God at work in the lives of people in the mission field that follows crisis.


The team served at Ms. Rosie's home which was completely devastated by Sandy (pic below).  Rosie shared her story of the storm and her life since then.  Through these difficult trials, she has recently started attending Beacon Church and learning more about God and the hope of Christ.  The team's presence at Ms. Rosie's home encouraged her that she was not forgotten and that someday she'd be restored to her home.

Mark and I also had the pleasure of hearing the testimony of one of the volunteers serving in NJ.  He told us how he had come to point of crisis in his own life due to drugs, alcohol, etc.  He said he literally heard the voice of God calling out to him and he had to find out who was speaking to Him.  Thankfully God had put believers in his life who pointed him to Jesus and to the cross.  He surrendered his life only a few years ago to the Lord and is fired up to share his new addiction of Jesus Christ to anyone he meets! 


In New York, we had a team come from Utah and immediately they formed friendships with their homeowners, Ms. Anna and Ms. Lily (pic below).  After an all day rain on Wednesday, Anna's basement had flooded and Ms. Lily was sure that her basement had flooded as well.  Turns out Lily's basement didn't flood which inspired her to go out and help those who were.  Lily was no longer just a recipient of help but now she was a giver too!


Mark and I also had the chance to share the love of Christ with a volunteer who came to serve in New York who was there but didn't know why.  She wasn't a believer but felt this was something she needed to do.  After spending a week serving alongside our staff and volunteers, God began to open her eyes to His truth and love.  This past Sunday, she committed her life to following Jesus Christ.  She has told me that "The whole trip was such an amazing experience. God wanted me there for a reason and now I know why."  PRAISE THE LORD!!

We had the chance to meet a man named Aiman who has started a relief center where his house once stood.  He started where he was with what he had!  Praise the LORD for his obedience!  You can read more of his story on our Crisis Response Blog!

I hope these stories encourage your hearts and remind you that God is at work everywhere!  He's in the huge life changing moments and in the small day-to-day moments!  Take some time this week to see where He's at work and praise Him for it!

"From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, 
The name of the LORD is to be praised."
Psalm 113:3

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Mannings First Mission & Vision Trip

Mark and I will be headed up to New Jersey and New York starting this Wednesday April 24th and will return Saturday May 3rd to serve in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.  Yes two years later, there are still homeowners waiting to get back in their homes.

I'm calling this the Mannings first mission & vision trip for a number of reasons:

1) We will be serving alongside Crisis Response who is partnering with Beacon EFC of NJ and Salem EFC of Staten Island; Mark as a jobsite supervisor to the volunteer teams and I will be serving the volunteer coordinators, Jen & Kat, as their assistant and helping anyway I can.

2) This will be a cross-cultural experience for Mark and I as he's a midwest country boy and I'm a southern city girl. We're looking forward to seeing how big God is and how He is at work in these places.

3) Mark and I have decided to pursue the long term application process with ReachGlobal!  This trip up to the northeast will continue to give us vision for how Mark and I can serve as a married couple with ReachGlobal Crisis Response.

4) Mark and I will get to share with Bethlehem Church in NJ on Sunday April 27th.  Please pray for us as we share in both services, with the mission council, and with the youth group how God is at work in the ministry and in our lives.  Please pray that God would speak through us to encourage this church body of how their partnership has been vital to furthering God's Kingdom purposes.

You can stay tuned on how things are going on the blog.  If you are in the area, give us a call or email!  We'd love to see you! 

God bless yall!
Mark & Katie :)

Thank you for praying for us as we head out on this pioneer trip!  Click give if you'd like to give towards our travel expenses.  Click go if you'd like more info on how you and your church can come serve with Crisis Response.  Click newsletter to sign up for our newsletter.
Happy Resurrection Sunday from Mark & Katie Manning!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Spring Break..well that went fast!

Well we have had our two weeks of college spring break teams and I must say, that went by FAST!  Thank you to all the students who came to serve from Greenville College, Dordt College, University of Northwestern - St Paul, Southwest Baptist University, and John Brown University.  We praise God for you and we are now praying for you as you continue to grow in your walk back on campus!
Southwest Baptist and John Brown University (notice the 3 jumping in the back! haha!)

Here are some praises and prayer requests from the month of March:

Praise: Getting to work alongside some awesome students who wanted to serve God and serve the community

Prayer: For these students back at home and in school to still LIVE ON MISSION for God no matter where they are

Abbie and Sarah used to serve with their youth group now they are serving in college! Love them!
Praise: Being reunited with college students who have come before.  My girl Stacie has come every spring break since she was a freshman and now she's a senior!  They sure do grow up fast!

Prayer: For all the graduating seniors as they embark on the next chapter of their lives.  Pray for God's direction and guidance as they step out into the "real world."

Erica and Stacie have been here before!  Stacie is graduating this year! We pray our paths cross again soon!
Praise: We have two new summer interns accepted into the program!  Please welcome Andy and Jamie!!  There are also two guys Nathan and Jordan who will serve with us for part of the summer! Praise the LORD!

Prayer: For the interns who are now in the support raising phase.  Please pray that God would raise up their ministry partners!

Praise: Mark had a great time serving with the teams!  He really enjoys working alongside them, training them how to do construction, going on prayer walks, and talking with homeowners!

Mark and I with the Northwestern team!  Yeah I think we all got along great! :)
Prayer: For my Mark, as he seeks God's will for how to use his skills and gifts to serve the LORD!

Praise: For the relationships built with the students who had never been here before.  I love seeing "newbys" come and get a feel for the people of New Orleans and all that God is doing here!  They are awesome!
Greenville and Dordt colleges united after a week of serving together! Love the CommUNITY! :)

Prayer: For me!! I now need to follow up with some of these interested interns to see if God is guiding them to serve with us in the future! 

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog! Thank you for taking the time to praise God for all He's done and all that He will do!